The literal translation for the term kata or gata as it is sometimes rendered in English is "pattern" or "flow". Commonly known, kata has been defined as a person "fighting against imaginary opponents." This claim, to some extent is true, but at the same it is also misleading. It might be better to depict kata as "a handbook of self-defence techniques." By viewing it this way, a better picture of kata will emerge. Kata is indeed an encyclopedia of techniques, helping to recall techniques that an ancient master thought necessary to perfect. In ancient times, kata was a way to preserve techniques that might have been used to protect one's life. A master places ideas on how one can fight effectively against a common street fighter or armed assailant in his kata.